Creative Play: Music & Music Education

When I was a kid, my Uncle John gave me a record that introduced the symphony. While I don’t remember the name of the album (if you are under the age of 30, you might want to ask your parents or grandparents about what is now a defunct technology), but I can still, nearly 50 years later, still hum the opening bars to Crumpet the Trumpet. The album Mitch Miller’s (ask your grandparents) Instruments of the Orchestra started off as a collection of 45s (put out by Golden Music — yep, the same folks who did Golden Books) and was later released as a 33 1/3 album. It was one of my favorite albums as a kid. I have, however, long suspected that my mother, after listening to a five year olds rendition of Crumpet, broke down and hid the album in the attic of the Presbyterian manse in Otterville, Missoui or Hilger, Montana.

While lps and 45s have long since disappeared from the average American household, the internet provides a great tool for introducing kids to music. While we encourage kids to learn an instrument, there are some terrific activities online that will help them learn scales, keys, instruments, and music appreciation. Certainly, YouTube has some excellent recordings available and provides an opportunity given children access to a broader range of genres and performances than were available to their parents or grandparents. That said, YouTube can also provide some real challenges. We have listed some very cool recordings from a number of different genres below to get you started. We have also scoured the internet to find some sites to help out with music education at home. Enjoy.

Music and Music Education Websites:

Classical Music

  • Classics for Kids. Includes some really nice recordings, including J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, Movement 1. The site also includes some excellent materials on music history and musical styles, as well as a music dictionary and an introduction to instruments and orchestras. The site also includes some excellent materials, including jazz.
  • San Francisco Symphony: Watch. Listen, and Learn. One of our favorite symphonies, and one of our favorite classical music sites.


  • Jazz (PBS Kids Go!). It has a good overview of the history of jazz, important jazz musicians, and some interesting interactive activities, but it doesn’t provide examples of the different styles or periods. Still, if you want to know more about the background to jazz, this is a good place to go.
  • Jazz (Smithsonian, National Museum of American History). The site includes excellent information, oral histories, and some really wonderful recordings. Go to the “Explore” pages to find most of the resources.

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